BioWare shifts resources to Anthem and debates SWTOR’s future

Talk about putting all of your eggs into one basket. While BioWare is nominally working on both the next Dragon Age title and Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kotaku reports that most of the studio’s personnel and resources are being devoted to the development of 2019’s multiplayer Anthem.

The outlet said that it had spoken with several unnamed sources close to the project that say BioWare is staking its future on Anthem as the studio continues to reassign employees to this title.

“There’s a belief that if Anthem doesn’t live up to EA’s expectations, BioWare will look very different in the future, especially after the disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda led to EA absorbing BioWare Montreal into the studio EA Motive,” the article said.

SWTOR players may have reason to be concerned over the future of their MMO in light of rumors that BioWare is considering shuttering the title. Kotaku said there is no definite decision as of yet: “BioWare has also discussed ending development on the multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic, my sources said, although one person familiar with the studio told me recently that plans are still up in the air.”

Our own SWTOR columnist Larry thinks that this isn’t going to happen.

Source: Kotaku, PCGamesN
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James Mock

I love SWTOR, but everything feels like it could have been expanded on just a little bit more to make it so much better. I know people hated the last two expansions, but I really enjoyed them and would love to see universe expanded upon more.

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Rolan Storm

Resume:
SWTOR is doomed because at the moment they pulling everything to make Anthem.
BioWare is doomed because Anthem will fail – EA will kill BW for it.

“M-m-m-monsters. Assassins.”

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overbyte

Wait your source for BioWare shuttering swtor is pcgamesn.com? Who?!

Stop wishing games away that other people love or the next game that gets wished away might be yours

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Vicarious Fan

so I hate EA they are an awful company that should be taking more risks and producing more customer friendly content but i pose a question.

Is it EA that kills the studios or is it just the studios time to close.

What I mean is if the Studios weren’t bought by EA would they still be around?

It’s very rare that we see a developer even one that is not bought by EA last more then a few games. They become successful make a lot of money, make a sequel which does well then usually the quality drops off and eventually the developers move to different studios or start indie projects.

Hell how many of Blizz’s original development team is still there?

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Armsbend

Over half of the key players. The other ones stayed roughly 20 years – some 10 years after the purchase.

Key employees
Michael Morhaime – Co-founder, President (1991–present)
Allen Adham – Founder, Senior Vice President, Executive Producer and former President (1991–2004, 2016–present)
Frank Pearce Jr. – Co-founder, Senior Vice President, Chief Design Officer (1991–present)
Samwise Didier – Senior Art Director (1992–present)
Bobby Fisher – Technical Director (1992–present)
Matt Samia – Vice-President/Cinematics & Media (1995–present)
Alan Dabiri – Technical Director (1995–present)
Jeff Chamberlain – Cinematics Director (2000–present)
Dustin Browder – Game Director (2007–present)
Jeff Kaplan – Game Director (Overwatch, 2002–present)
Ion Hazzikostas – Game Director (World of Warcraft, 2008–present)
Ben Brode – Game Director (Hearthstone, 2008–present)
Former key employees
Patrick Wyatt – First hire and eventual Vice-President of Research & Development (1991–2000)
David Brevik – Co-Founder and President of Blizzard North/Director at Blizzard Ent. (1993–2003)
Bill Roper – Vice-President of Blizzard North/Director at Blizzard Ent. (1994–2003)
Sam Lantinga – Lead Software Engineer (2001–2011)
Greg Street – Lead Systems Designer (2008–2013)
Alex Mayberry – Lead Game Producer (2004–2014)
Shane Dabiri – Lead Producer (1994–2014)
Rob Pardo – Executive Vice President of Game Design (1998–2014)
Joeyray Hall – DVD/Video production supervisor (1991–2015)
Paul W. Sams – Chief Operating Officer (1996–2015)
Nick Carpenter – Executive Art Director (1994–2016)
Josh Mosqueira – Game Director (2011–2016)
Chris Metzen – Vice President of Creative Development (1994–2016)

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Alex Malone

That’s a very good point: would Bioware still be around if they hadn’t been bought out?

It’s impossible to know. With maturing markets, like gaming, the tendency is generally towards consolidation and that is what we’ve seen. EA, ActiBlizz and Ubisoft pretty much dominate the western market and it is very hard to compete on gameplay, you pretty much have to go for AAA production in order to sell your games to the masses.

If Bioware hadn’t sold out, they would be extremely reliant on every game being a big hit. A single failure would have been enough to bring down the whole company, so they would have had to hope that they got big enough to have multiple series on the go at once so that they could absorb any losses from underperforming games. They were basically getting there, so I think they would have survived. At the point where they were bought out, they had a few different IPs under their belt (KOTOR, ME) with DA in it’s initial stages.

My guess is that they’d have ended up in a similar position to Bethesda. Similar sorts of sizes back in 2007, similar range of games.

Could Bioware have kept their creative juices flowing? Thats a whole different matter and impossible to know. With good hiring practices and a willingness to shake up teams they could have done it, but if they kept relying on the same small team of key people to come up with new ideas then I’m sure they’d have stagnated.

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SirUrza

would Bioware still be around if they hadn’t been bought out?

Absolutely. Microsoft was bank rolling Mass Effect 1. Considering it’s success on the 360 and PC they would have paid for ME2/3 as well. Both games would likely have turned out differently.

BioWare and Lucas Arts signed their SWTOR deal before EA was ever in the picture. Without EA’s money though SWTOR would also be a VERY different game.

It’s possible, even likely we’d have seen a Jade Empire 2 since the BioWare/Microsoft ties would remain strong without EA in the picture.

All of BioWare’s games would be on steam, so none of the Mass Effect DLC nonsense would be going on.

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SirUrza

Hell how many of Blizz’s original development team is still there?

More then most developers. The fun part about Blizzard is Diablo 3. Go back and look at the original promotional material, interviews, and Blizzcon panels before the release of Diablo 3. You know what they all show? Players who loved Diablo 1 and Diablo 2… but not developers of Diablo 1 and 2. The reason being Blizzard didn’t make Diablo 1, they bought the company (renamed them Blizzard North) and Diablo 1. They made Diablo 2 but then when it came to Diablo 3 it linger in development hell until North was closed (to consolidate everyone into one office) with all the main people leaving. It was years before they started over on Diablo 3 with no veterans left. Reaper of Souls is a huge accomplishment since it fixed the game and established a new team capable of making and maintaining an original blizzard arpg.

BioWare is kind of in the same bought… not because everyone left, but because they’ve expanded and grown. Most of the important people that made Baldur’s Gate and KOTOR are either gone or in positions of power. They’re not the guys doing the actual work and while the vision and direction might be there’s, it’s not their talent. Look at Dragon Age as a whole, it’s 3 very different games. DAO was supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate (and on PC atleast it was.) DA2 rushed to meet the release date it was given before it was even announced (see your original boxed copies of Awakening if you have them) and abandoned the Baldur’s Gate roots. DAI was like neither game, clearly influenced by MMO design rather then western fantasy rpg design.

For me, Larian studios is the future of western rpgs. As long as they keep doing what they’re doing, I’m a happy crpg player.

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Kevin McCaughey

Yea it is the same story over and over. Even the mighty Bioware were corrupted and ruined by them.

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IronSalamander8 .

I never played SWG so can’t say anything about that game although I know it has its fans.

Anthem as many have pointed out, looks like a Destiny clone, a game I’ve avoided and so glad with all the issues Destiny 2 has had already. I have zero plans on buying Anthem, the only EA game I want right now is a new Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare game as PvZ:GW2 hasn’t had major DLC in over a year and while I still play everyday I have almost everything unlocked and have been at max rank for over a year.

SWTOR has been in trouble for awhile now. As someone who played from late beta with only a couple of months interruption up to the latest mergers when I uninstalled it, the writing has been on the wall for awhile. It would be a mercy killing to shut the thing down now and good riddance. I went from having 7 characters at cap and running 21 HMs a week to only RPing after my guild died in 2013 from people leaving in boredom to wondering why I bothered logging in anymore when long term friends had long poofed from the game.

I don’t want to see people losing their jobs but EA kills these dev teams over and over and BW has to be close to the executioner’s blade now. I’ve never been a huge BW fan as I think their games are overrated but I did love SWTOR for the first couple years of its existence and again I hate to see people lose their jobs, but EA has a history of this. Too bad really, when my Commodore 64 was my main game machine EA was an incredible company with fantastic games (M.U.L.E., Archon, Mail-Order Monsters, etc.).

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

SWG was barely surviving. Please stop.

This bias towards everything SWTOR needs to cease.

Holding a grudge for 6 years is both hilarious and sad.

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Paragon Lost

;)

We good.jpg
Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Hahaha

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Paragon Lost

That’s my frame of mind on stuff like this. I’ll bitch and moan about it for a bit and then try to move on. I won’t forget, but I’ll try to just move on. Holding onto it just turns my beard more grey!

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Alex Malone

Does anybody believe that Anthem will be anything other than a Destiny clone with minor tweaks?

Bioware haven’t been good at anything since EA took over. They were only ever good at one thing, story, and that has gotten worse since the buyout. What’s worse, story does not translate well into a multiplayer format. Bioware are absolutely the wrong company to be making Anthem, it will end up being mediocre at best.

That said, I think Anthem will still make a profit. With the amount of money being sunk into the game, the graphics and world alone will be enough to shift millions of copies. It’ll just end up following a standard AAA lifecycle – burst of popularity for 1 month, then massive dropoff once the playerbase has burned through all the content.

Bioware (and EA) simply lack the experience to make a good multiplayer game that will run for years.

On the SW:TOR front, what would be the point of shutting it down? As much as I hate the game, EA own the license so shutting down won’t give me a game I enjoy. So, as long as the game still makes money then they may as well keep it going so that the small amount of people who do enjoy it can still have their fun. When 2023 comes along….sure, then shut it down and let a competent developer make a new SW MMO.

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SirUrza

Does anybody believe that Anthem will be anything other than a Destiny clone with minor tweaks?

Nope. Especially if Wilson crates are involved.

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Dread Quixadhal

Maybe if EA would stop interfering in game development and let the studios they hire/absorb/infect do their jobs, they wouldn’t HAVE disappointments like ME: Andromeda.

The more a publisher sticks their pointy-hair boss perspective noses into a development studio, the worse the results always are.

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Vicarious Fan

from my understanding ME problems were due to switching engines late in development.

I hear though EA gives you enough rope to hang yourself, meaning when studios get bought by EA they are given a ton of money and a timeline but then the studios being overconfident end up wasting too much time and have a hard time meeting those deadlines.

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Dread Quixadhal

I’m sure there’s some truth in that. But EA also likes to step into the development process and make decisions based on their marketing needs, not technical reality. For example, the reason the studio switched engines was that EA forced them to use their in-house engine, which was not well suited to that style of game.

And of course, the publisher always loves to force devs to add copy protection, cash shops, “lock boxes”, and other things that were never part of the game design… and which usually are mentioned only after adding such systems becomes difficult.

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Sajiri

There’s also the fact that EA took the original ME team to work on Anthem, and had a team that was essentially inexperienced (I believe they only worked on DLC previously) do Andromeda.

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Witches

This is actually good news for the players of the game, the only thing being developed the we know of is the last boss of the Op and another FP, i don’t think they were discussing stopping that avalanche of content, so this means there has to be something of some substance being developed that is not public yet.

Are the people sighing for SWG, aware that if SWG was alive it would be in the competent hands of Daybreak? My guess is the chances of a longer life for SWG were similar to those of a successful launch of EQN.

I look at the MMO landscape and i see a clear desire of not making something similar to SWG, i mean it’s not like Star Wars setting was essential to the gameplay, anything is a good setting for a survivor or pvp game, but for whatever reason that type of game is not something developers want to tackle.

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Schmidt.Capela

More like the publishers that have enough funding for making AAA games don’t want to come even close to virtual world-based MMOs.

BTW, SWG had nothing to do with survivor games, and it’s PvP was completely consensual, with players able to opt in or out as they wished and even change factions. Also, non-MMO PvP games are all the rage right now thanks to PUBG and Fortnite BR.

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Robert Weaver

Dear Lord, Baby Jesus, please let SWTOR get put down and please let a good developer build a sandbox Starwars title.

Thank you.

Estranged
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Estranged

There will be no Star Wars MMO and everyone can be miserable!

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Melissa McDonald

the beatings will continue until morale improves!

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

😂

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Vicarious Fan

why would anyone build a Star Wars sand box mmo? Out of the 2 Star Wars MMOs SWG performed worse then SWTOR. So why would any developer attempt that again?